Authorities arrested a soldier in Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard for killing a pregnant woman in a queue for Christmas Eve pork rations, local media reported.
18-year-old Alexandra Colopoy was reportedly shot dead by officer David José Rebolledo Cortez on Christmas Eve after scuffles broke out when people realized there were not enough pork rations for everyone.
Colopoy’s husband told local media that the soldiers arrived intoxicated to the queue and told people to leave because the rations had run out. After the people refused, the soldiers began firing at the crowd.
“The National Guard went crazy and started firing [and] she fell to the ground,” said Colopoy’s husband Bernabé, adding that his wife was five months pregnant.
The country’s chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced the soldier’s arrest on Twitter.
“Following the appalling crime that took place against citizen Alexandra Esterfan Colopoy Herrera, the Public Ministry has ordered the arrest of First Sergeant of the National Guard David José Rebolledo Cortez, who will shortly be presented in front of a court,” Saab wrote.
“The Venezuelan state guarantees the respect and application of human rights, as well as sanctions for those who violate them,” he continued.
Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro had promised millions of Venezuela’s poorest families, many of whom are starving or suffering from malnutrition, a subsidized roast leg of pork as part of the government organized “Christmas season of happiness.”
Despite ordering millions of rations of pork from a private contractor in Portugal, many of the shipments arrived late or not at all, causing significant anger amongst Venezuelans. Maduro blamed the failure on the Portuguese government, who he has accused of sabotaging the deal in order to destabilize his government.
“What happened to the pork? They sabotaged us. I can name a country: Portugal,” Maduro said on state television. “It was all set, because we had bought all the pork there was in Venezuela, we bought it all. So we had to import, and so I gave the order and I signed the payments. But they went after the bank accounts, they went after the two giant ships that were coming.”
However, Portuguese officials dismissed any involvement with the deal while the company Raporal, which has previously supplied pork to Venezuela, said that they were still owed 40 million euros by Caracas.
Long queues and outbreaks of violence are now commonplace in Venezuela, as the country faces the worst economic and humanitarian in its history, with millions of people close to starvation or suffering from severe malnutrition following nearly 20 years of radical socialist governance.